The 2020 diocesan convention, which begins the 50th Anniversary of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, has been in planning and preparation for well over a year. Now, as I write these words, we are entering the final weeks and days of readiness. When the convention finally begins on February 7, it will have involved the participation of a majority of the Cathedral family. This convention is in many ways the full embodiment within a compressed time period of the ministry of a cathedral. Our bishop will preside here from his cathedra, or seat. We will welcome into their cathedral church the representatives of all the agencies, parishes, missions, commissions, and ministries of our diocese. We will practice our ministry of hospitality. We will carry out the liturgical life of our gathered diocesan body. We will sing, pray, listen, and reason together as Christ's body in this part of the Church universal.
When we look back over the years since 2005, and since we last hosted convention in 2012, we can see the many ways that we have grown into this cathedral ministry and become better able to serve our diocese. This convention should provide us with an opportunity to witness and celebrate our strengths and to assess the ways in which we are challenged to grow. I am deeply thankful for the hard work of so many of you in cleaning and preparing our campus for use and for the many extremely talented people who have given so much of their time and of themselves in the preparation of this diocesan convention. Convention Chairs Audrey Cunningham, Ginny Behlen, Cammie Israel, and Lucy Wright along with Special Projects Manager Caroline Etherton have done an extraordinary job in organizing the many elements of this series of events. If you have not already signed up for a time slot to help welcoming over 400 delegates and guests to Christ Church Cathedral, please consider doing so. As we look forward to our future as the cathedral church of our diocese, we can draw strength and confidence from the gifts of the Spirit in the Cathedral family. I know that I have been blessed by being here to learn with and from you all.